Zynga Won’t Gamble On Online Casinos

It has not been a great year for casual game maker Zynga. The company axed a pile of games that weren’t bringing in enough cash, broke up with Facebook, saw its stock price plummet, dealt with a lawsuit from Electronic Arts, and lost a top employee or two. However, Zynga’s fortunes looked as though they might turn around if it could convince the Nevada Gaming Board to approve it for online gambling.

Alas, that cash cow is not to be. In a statement, Zynga said, “Zynga is making the focused choice not to pursue a license for real money gaming in the United States. Zynga will continue to evaluate all of its priorities against the growing market opportunity in free, social gaming, including social casino offerings."

Zynga The Ville

It’s just as well. Gambling laws are tricky, and online gambling is even dicier. Instead, new CEO Don Mattrick (formerly of Microsoft) is taking the company back to its roots, with free online games. He acknowledges that there will be a period of turbulence while the company gets itself righted, and he must be hoping that investors will stick around long enough for that to happen.

If there was ever a time to give Zynga a tiny bit of leeway before bailing, it’s now; there’s a new top chief in the company, and he’s already making some bold decisions. That’s not to say that the future is looking particularly bright, but a new CEO might be able to turn the company around.